Jonathan Aryan "Jon" Jafari (born March 24, 1990), best known by his internet pseudonym JonTron, is an American comedian, Internet personality, and video game critic. He is known for his YouTube webseries JonTron, in which he reviews video games, movies, and television shows of varying genres in a retrospective and comedic manner. Jafari is also known as the co-creator and former co-host of the Let's Play webseries Game Grumps, and for co-creating the video game entertainment website NormalBoots. As of June 2016, Jafari has amassed over 2.7 million subscribers and 318 million views on his YouTube channel, JonTronShow.
Jonathan Jafari was born and raised in Rancho Palos Verdes, a city in Los Angeles County, California. He attended Palos Verdes Peninsula High School from 2004 to 2008, where he participated in musical theatre. While attending high school, Jafari met future collaborator Jirard Khalil and future Game Grumps editor Barry Kramer. Jafari currently resides in Manhattan, New York.
Jafari created a Newgrounds account under the name "BirdmanXZ6" in 2003, and uploaded five animations depicting anthropomorphic onions. In 2006, he made a YouTube account under the same name, which he later changed to "TheOnionKing." All but two of the videos on this channel have since been deleted.
In 2010, Jafari created a YouTube channel called JonTronShow. He stated that he chose the name JonTron because it was "reminiscent of technology," and that the show was originally going to be called JonTron 2.0. He then uploaded a two-part review of Nintendo 64 game Daikatana, the first installment in his JonTron series. In each episode of JonTron, Jafari reviews singular games as well as games of a particular theme or genre. He is usually accompanied by his green-cheeked conure, Jacques, who speaks with a robotic voice. Jafari usually incorporates elements of sketch comedy into these episodes to display his reactions to the video game that he is reviewing. Jafari has reviewed numerous video game adaptations of popular franchises such as Hercules, Barbie, Home Alone, and Conan the Barbarian. He has also reviewed various unlicensed games, particularly based on the Pokémon franchise as well as Disney films. In the latter, he observed China as being "farther away from U.S. jurisdiction and much better at Disney bootlegging" and also remarked on unofficial online games based on the company's movies. Jafari also occasionally uploads skits as well as movie reviews. His most popular video is "Bootleg Pokémon Games" with over ten million views.
In 2011, Jafari created two now-defunct spin-off Let's Play channels. The first, "JonTronStarcraft," has two videos of Jafari playing Blizzard Entertainment's popular RTS game StarCraft. The second channel, "JonTronLoL," has four videos of Jafari playing the MOBA game League of Legends. Both channels have less than 25,000 subscribers.
JonTronShow reached one million subscribers in 2014.
In May 2015, Jafari released a spin-off webseries on his YouTube channel titled JonTron's StarCade (often referred to simply as StarCade), in which he reviews games based on the Star Wars franchise. The webseries included cameos from numerous other Internet personalities and actors, such as Egoraptor, Markiplier, Nathan Barnatt, Ross O'Donovan, and Kyle Hebert. The series was produced by Maker Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, and concluded in December 2015 after nine episodes.
Jafari occasionally uploads videos in which he comments on matters that he finds important, which are usually related to gaming. This occurred most recently in 2016, with Jafari's video entitled "THE BLIZZARD RANT," in response to Blizzard Entertainment shutting down private servers of their popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft. Jafari mostly criticized the shutdown of one of the most popular private servers, Nostalrius, which was a copy of the 1.12 version of the game. Jafari's video helped create notablility on this subject, and lead to thousands of signatures on a Change.org petition regarding the shutdown of legacy servers in World of Warcraft.
NormalBoots was created in late 2010 by Jafari and Austin "PeanutButterGamer" Hargrave to act as a hub where Jafari and Hargrave could post content and receive advertisement revenue. Soon after its creation, NormalBoots added Did You Know Gaming?, The Completionist, Indie Games Searchlight, and Continue? to its roster of shows. The site was closed down in 2012, as Google's AdSense program offered better revenue options for the content creators. NormalBoots was relaunched on January 24, 2014, with the addition of ProJared and Satchbag's Goods. However, Indie Games Searchlight was not included in the relaunch.
In July 2012, Jafari and animator Arin "Egoraptor" Hanson, known for his Awesome, Sequelitis, and Girlchan in Paradise animations, announced they would be starting a Let's Play series titled Game Grumps through videos on both their channels. On the GameGrumps channel, Jafari and Hanson played games that were typically retro or nostalgic in style. On July 18 of the same year, Jafari and Hanson uploaded their first serials of Game Grumps: Kirby Super Star, Mega Man 7 and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Due to Jafari and Hanson's existing fanbases, the show was quickly acclaimed by fans. However on June 25, 2013 it was revealed that, due to unspecified reasons as well as conflicts with JonTron, Jafari left Game Grumps and was replaced by Ninja Sex Party singer Leigh Daniel Avidan. This was met with extreme backlash by fans, as the announcement was made without any prior warning or lead-up. The uproar was also due to Ross O'Donovan and Avidan announcing their Game Grumps spin-off Steam Train the same day that Jafari's departure was disclosed.
Jafari has collaborated with multiple YouTube channels, including Ethan and Hila Klein's channel h3h3 Productions. As of October 2015, Hila Klein is a producer for JonTron. He has made an appearance on James Rolfe's Let's Play series James & Mike Mondays. Jafari was also a featured vocalist in an episode of The Gregory Brothers' viral webseries Songify the News. At the same time, The Gregory Brothers remixed Jafari's review of the bootlegged game, Titenic, and it was released on iTunes.
Jafari has done voice-over work for the video game-based blog Did You Know Gaming?, covering episodes on The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Pokémon, Pikmin, Animal Crossing, Dragon Quest, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, and games of Disney franchises. He has also covered the development of Star Wars for their spin-off series Did You Know Movies? on fellow YouTube personality Matthew Patrick's channel, The Film Theorists.
In 2013, before his departure from Game Grumps, Jafari and Hanson appeared in a promotional video produced by Polaris for the Warner Bros. movie Pacific Rim. The video featured fellow internet personalities Jesse Cox, Dodger, HuskyStarcraft and TotalBiscuit. In the video they played new recruits undergoing training by "The Lieutenant Commander" played by Robert Kazinsky. Around the same time, Jafari appeared in Ninja Sex Party's music video for "Let's Get This Terrible Party Started," which was directed by Hanson.
To promote the 2013 World Series, Jafari appeared in an a capella cover of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," produced by PepsiCo and musician Mike Tompkins, and uploaded to Maker Studios' Maker Music channel.
Jafari played Banjo-Kazooie in June 2014 on a Twitch stream to collect donations for Teach For America's GoFundMe campaign. Jafari stated that if the $25,000 proposed goal was hit, he would reprise his cover of Katy Perry's song "Firework," which was originally recorded in 2011 in his review of DinoCity. The full version of the cover was uploaded to Jafari's YouTube channel on February 14, 2016.
Jafari has provided voice-over work for A Hat in Time, an upcoming video game by Gears for Breakfast, and will be providing his voice for a character in Playtonic Games' upcoming 3D platforming video game Yooka-Laylee.
Jafari was referenced in the 2011 indie game DLC Quest on a gravestone, along with the Game Grumps hosts' catchphrase, "real talk." The gravestone also read "???-2013," referencing Jafari's departure from the show in 2013.
In 2016, Jafari was featured as a character in the dating sim and visual novel Asagao Academy. Funded as a Kickstarter project in 2014, it also starred portrayals of other NormalBoots creators, including Austin Hargrave from PeanutButterGamer, Nick Murphy, Paul Ritchey, and Josh Henderson from Continue?, Shane Gill from Did You Know Gaming?, Satchell Drakes from Satchbag’s Goods, Jared Knabenbauer from ProJared, and Jirard Khalil from The Completionist.
Awards and honors
In 2013, Jafari was among CraveOnline's "7 Awesome YouTube Gamers You Should Watch." Writer Paul Tamburro stated, "Mixing a large dollop of offbeat humour with a light sprinkle of insightful commentary, JonTron's reviews of games of old have inspired many imitators, but none have proven to be more hilarious." Time magazine listed JonTron as 2015's seventh most searched Internet meme on Google, and he was also ranked number five on WatchMojo.com's "Top 10 YouTube Video Game Reviewers."
|2010–present||JonTron||Himself||Creator, director, editor, and writer|
|2011–2013||TOME: Terrain of Magical Expertise||Sniperwheel (voice)||4 episodes|
|2012||Nerdy Nummies||Himself||Episode: "Chips Challenge Cake"|
|2012||The Completionist||Various||2 episodes|
|2012–2016||Did You Know Gaming?||Himself (voice)||13 episodes|
|2012–2013||Game Grumps||Himself (voice)||First season; co-creator, co-host, and editor|
|2012||PeanutButterGamer||Himself||Episode: "Hatoful Boyfriend"|
|2014||Nostalgia Critic||Himself||3 episodes (uncredited)|
|2015||James & Mike Mondays||Himself||3 episodes|
|2015||JonTron's StarCade||Himself||9 episodes|
|2015||Did You Know Movies?||Himself (voice)||Episode: "Star Wars On-Set Secrets"|
|2016||Smart Guys||Office worker||Episode: "Recruitment"|
|2016||Asagao Academy: Normal Boots Club||Himself|
|TBA||A Hat in Time||Moon penguin|
|2013||"Let's Get This Terrible Party Started"||Ninja Sex Party||Strawberries and Cream album|
|2015||"Of Murder & Catfish"||The Gregory Brothers||Guest vocalist|